We’ve held hundreds of weddings at our barns and we’ve discovered 7 things that every bride should know before her wedding day. In fact, my own wedding was one of the first weddings held at Ever After Farms and I wish someone would have told me what I'm about to share with you! It sure would have saved me quite a few unnecessary headaches. I thought I was very well versed on wedding planning, but in hindsight, I spent too much time on minor details like the color of my linens and the perfect shoes for my flower girls and not enough thought was given to these 7 items. My gift to you today, is some insight into those things I wish I’d known, so that your wedding can be as stress-free and perfect as possible!
1. Get Same Day Help
The #1 lesson Ever After Farms budget-conscious brides have shared with us is that they wish they’d hired or assigned someone to help with the day-of duties. As a tight budget bride myself (and someone who felt too guilty to ask a friend who’d otherwise be enjoying the festivities), I opted to handle everything myself. Don't be me. Be smarter. Ask for help.
The very best wedding venues will have staff on hand to assist with the facilities but they aren't going to tell your bridal party when to start walking down the aisle or what the guests should be doing while you’re getting pictures taken. And then there is the coordination of your vendors, if your florist leaves, who will keep the flowers well-kept and watered and who will prune the floral arrangements? Or what about tipping the vendors? You may be off on your honeymoon night already when the evening is wrapping up.
To help combat this problem, we now provide the very best and most affordable Day of Help service available; the Ever After Farms Wedding Day Management service. We know the ins and outs of our venues better than anyone else so when we manage your wedding, it goes as smoothly as possible. Avoid the stress of trying to do everything yourself by allowing our team of Happily Ever After Specialists help make your wedding day dreams come true!
To learn more about some of the same day duties that you’ll want help with, see below:
- Checking the Mics: If you don’t have a DJ, you’ll need someone to verify microphone volume as well make sure it’s handed to whomever is giving the speech.
- Signs and Seating Arrangements: While Ever After Farms does provide many great options for signage and seating charts, you will still need someone to decorate and fill them out. Buy great quality chalk markers and provide an ample amount of time for decorating, because filling out a seating chart for 200 guests can take some time.
- Coordinating Entrances: There are many types of wedding entrances that will need to be coordinated. From the first walks down the aisle, to the wedding party entrance, you will need someone put in charge of keeping everything running smoothly and on time.
- Wedding Supply Clean Up: Ever After Farms Barns offer an enormous variety of decor and extras free for all couples to utilize, which helps reduce a lot of the typical wedding clean up; but you’ll still need help packing up and keeping track of items that you provide. Our team will help pack up and put away anything of ours, but putting someone in charge of remembering important things like emptying out the cardbox or checking for personal items will save you from having to make a trip back to the barn.
- Wedding Tips and Payments: As mentioned before, you will want to put someone else in charge of as many of these small tasks as possible, so that you can sit back and enjoy your night to the fullest. The last thing you want to have to do is run around paying every vendor at the end of the night. The best way to hand out money at a wedding is by using pre-labeled envelopes with money already sealed inside. This will help keep things organized and also help the person who you've put in charge of delivering these payments.
For more information on how much you can expect to tip your vendors, here is a very helpful summary of Tipping Etiquette Tips
2. Don’t Skip Your Final Tour
Your final tour is your most important wedding venue meeting and should be considered a necessity. The rehearsal is a practice of your already-dialed-in game plan with the most important participants in your event but it's way too late in the wedding planning process for all the details that a Final Tour will cover.
At Ever After Farms, we will sit down and go through all of the details of your wedding day on your final tour, from your centerpiece choices, ceremony decor, and table arrangements, to your vendor list and any special requirements or requests. Bring a written list of questions and concerns so that you don’t forget anything. And also, don’t forget to bring your same day helper to this final tour so that you two are on the exact same page on what you want to happen on your big day! Then, you can better enjoy your rehearsal because all of your favorite people will be there, and you don't want to miss out on spending time with them because you're still heavy planning on that night.
3. Write Out Your Day of Schedule
Write or type up a Day of Schedule and give it to every member of your wedding party as well as your day of Vendors on or before the rehearsal. You can also summarize your Day of Schedule for guests on your wedding website. Rarely does any event unfold exactly as designed but when everyone has your Day-of Schedule, at least everyone will be on the same page with how it's supposed to go and that will create a much smoother experience.
Day-Of Wedding Schedule
9am: Bridesmaids pick up Bride
9:30am: Hair Salon for Updos and Mimosas
12pm: Bride & Bridesmaids Arrive at the Barn for Makeup
12:30pm: Florist Drops off Florals
12:45pm: MIL fill out chalkboard signs/seating chart
1:00pm: Groomsmen Arrive at Barn
1:30pm: DJ arrives and begins setup
1:45pm: Cake dropped off
2:00pm: Caterer arrives and begins Cocktail Hour setup
2:30pm: Children of the wedding party arrive (Flower girl, Ring Bearer, Ushers)
3:00pm: Final wedding preparations
4:30pm-5:30pm: Cocktail Hour/ Wedding Photos
6:00pm: Grand Entrance
6:10pm: First Dance
6:20pm: Dinner Prayer
7:15pm: Father Daughter Dance
7:20pm: Mother Son Dance
7:45pm: Cake Cutting
8:30pm: Bouquet Toss
9:45pm: Sparkler Exit
4. Hire a Sitter
If you are opting to include children in your wedding, consider hiring a babysitting service for the night or designate an attendee to be responsible for sitting the kiddos. Everyone attending the wedding deserves the chance to relax and enjoy themselves, and what better way to guarantee toddlers don’t run past your cake cutting or interrupt your first dance, than by having designated help keep them occupied?
There are also a lot of really neat and trendy ideas on Pinterest for fun “Kid Table” setups and games that your sitters can utilize to keep all of the children at the wedding happy and entertained.
5. De-Stress the Week Prior
Schedule your to do list to end one week prior to your wedding. It is so much more rewarding of an experience when you’re not running around with your head cut off making last minute preparations while your favorite friends and family are in town. You’ve spent the last year or so spending all of your spare time planning every detail of your wedding, reward yourself by actually relaxing and enjoying yourself the days leading to your big day. Schedule a spa day a few days prior to relax and get primped with your favorite girlfriends.
6.Choose Your Vendors Wisely
While you may only need a few day-of vendors (if you have your wedding at inclusive venue like Ever After Farms), Vendor selection is still very important. If you’re like me, you haven’t hired a bunch of people or companies in your life to do work for you, so you may not have a whole lot of experience with it. It can be deceptively challenging to get this right. An incredible cake baker who is very disorganized may create the most wonderful cake for you, but get the design completely wrong. A DJ may be epic with crowds but bad with pronouncing names and butcher the best man’s name. The caterer may prepare incredibly tasty food but be habitually late. Then there is the issue of hiring Vendors who have never provided their services at your venue and no matter how good they are, they have a learning curve on your big day! Thanks to having interacted with most of the wedding vendors in Florida, we now have an Ever After Farms Preferred Vendors List and we know, from seeing those Vendors in many different weddings at our venues, that they are truly the best in the business. You can’t go wrong hiring from a Venue’s Preferred List.
7. Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff
Finally, when it comes to one of the most important days of your life, it can often be forgotten and sounds cliché, but is so true; don’t sweat the small stuff. Nothing in life will ever be perfect, but the important thing is that you are marrying the love of your life surrounded by the people you love (and maybe a few distant relatives you’ve never met but your MIL insisted on inviting). Do your very best to not sweat the small stuff that may not go as planned.
If it rains, grab a clear umbrella to create romantic wedding photos that will capture memories to last a lifetime. If the DJ plays the wrong song, dance your butt off, and play the right song next! Enjoy every single moment because in the blink of an eye, you’ll be like me, reminiscing all of the cherished times I had with my favorite people, marrying my very best friend.
Congratulations! I hope that by sharing these 7 things I wish I’d known on my wedding day, I can help you formulate a solid game plan that will result in the most perfect wedding day ever!